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3. Paul’s expectations in his journeys
(Romans 15:22-33)
22For this reason I have often been prevented from coming to you;23but now, with no further place for me in these regions, and since I have had for many years a longing to come to you24whenever I go to Spain -- for I hope to see you in passing, and to be helped on my way there by you, when I have first enjoyed your company for a while --25but now, I am going to Jerusalem serving the saints.26For Macedonia and Achaia have been pleased to make a contribution for the poor among the saints in Jerusalem.27Yes, they were pleased to do so, and they are indebted to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in their spiritual things, they are indebted to minister to them also in material things.28Therefore, when I have finished this, and have put my seal on this fruit of theirs, I will go on by way of you to Spain.29I know that when I come to you, I will come in the fullness of the blessing of Christ.30Now I beg you, brethren, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through the love of the Spirit, that you strive together with me in prayers to God for me, 31that I may be delivered from those in Judea who do not believe, and that my service for Jerusalem may be acceptable to the saints,32that I may come to you with joy by the will of God, and may be refreshed together with you.33Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.

Man thinks and God leads. Paul moved his thoughts about his journeys into his heart, showing his longing, and praying in this respect. He had preached to the countries on the east and north of the Mediterranean, where he had established several churches, in spite of the violent persecutions which he had faced. Now, he wished to preach to the west of the Roman state, and the cold north of Europe, in order to subject the whole world known at that time under the feet of the Son of God.
Paul confessed that he had attempted several times to visit the church in Rome to strengthen their faith, love, and hope, but that the problems and possibilities in Asia Minor and Greece had frustrated his hopes and his intention to travel.
Years ago he had aspired to visit Rome to become acquainted with the church, which grew up there without him, and to strengthen it. During his journey to Spain, he wished to stop there for some time to visit the different church members there. He expected that the church in Rome should support his new ministries in Spain, and accompany him with prayer, contributions, and practical service in order that his preaching in the future might not be his own privilege, but be originated from the saints in Rome. Paul found himself compelled to travel first to Jerusalem to take the contributions from the churches of Greece to the poor in the original church, who sold their properties because of their faith in the coming of Christ, and as a result suffered hunger. He taught the believers in the new churches in Anatolia and Greece, as a result of this painful experience, to pray with faith and fervency, and to persevere therein. He taught them to be diligent in their business as well, in order that their waiting for Christ might not be a reason for the withdrawal or diminution of the means of their subsistence. Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica that if a man would not work, he should not eat (2 Thessalonians 3:10). However, the poor conditions of the believers in the church of Jerusalem required their financial aid, which was evidence to Paul of the faith of the Christians of the Gentiles, who were prepared for practical sacrifice.
The apostle said that it was necessary for the new churches of the Gentiles to work together to help the believers of Jewish origin since they had participated with them in the spiritual riches given to the believers in the original church in Jerusalem, who freely distributed to everybody the spiritual gifts and knowledge revealed to them. Therefore, Paul wrote that those who were born again in the new churches of the Gentiles are obligated and morally bound to help the poor and the saints in Jerusalem in their human needs. From the words of Paul, we conclude that the help of the needy is a holy duty and obligation, which applies everywhere and at all times.
When he had taken the monetary aid to Jerusalem, Paul wanted to travel to Spain via Rome to bring the fullness of the spiritual blessing of Christ to the believers there. He felt in himself, however, that his journey to Jerusalem was a serious problem, for he lived there in the local churches, which held the Law of Moses, and complainingly saw how Christ gathered believers from the Gentiles. The believers of the Jews were about to reject these contributions because they were sent from non-Jews. Furthermore, the Scribes and Pharisees showed open hostility towards Paul, and decided to kill him. Therefore, Paul asked the believers in Rome to pray incessantly in the name of Christ, for his protection, and to support him in his spiritual struggle for the truth, that man is justified by grace, and not by the law. He called the Jews who were far from Jesus disbelievers who wanted to condemn him and kill him. In spite of his knowledge of the troubles which awaited him in Jerusalem, he proceeded to that deadly city, just as Jesus had before him. It was there that Jesus died for us, and rose for our justification; the weakness of Christ becoming his triumph.
Paul summed up all his plans and expectations, saying that by God’s will he might come to the believers in Rome with joy. He closed his epistle praying to the God of peace to be with them all, even if they disagreed about foods, circumcision, and other secondary subjects.

O heavenly Father, it has become our privilege by your Son Jesus to thank you because the apostle Paul determined to offer the Gospel to all men, and wanted to draw the Gentiles to you, but he was drawn as a prisoner to Rome with humiliation and despise. We thank you for his epistles, prayers, faith, and hope. Help us not to turn around ourselves where our love leads us to you.
Why did Paul, before his journey to Spain, want to proceed to Jerusalem, in spite of his knowledge of the troubles and many dangers that awaited him there?